Na Pu`uwai Receives $1.6 M to Continue Programs
Molokai’s Native Hawaiian health care provider, Na Pu`uwai, recently received $1,696,281 in federal funding. The funding, part of an ongoing grant, enables the organization to continue current programs, according to Executive Director William Akutagawa.
The funding was part of $10,673,171 allocated to healthcare, education and wellness programs designed to address the needs of Native Hawaiians across the state. The money comes through a series of five grants administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funding was announced last week by Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono, and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa.
“These funds are necessary to support the institutions in Hawaii that are providing for the unique and culturally sensitive healthcare needs of the Native Hawaiian people,” said Sen. Inouye in a press release. “Unfortunately, occurrences of heart disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer disproportionally affect Native Hawaiians, many of whom have difficulty gaining consistent access to affordable healthcare.”
“What this means is [that] we can continue our programs,” said Akutagawa. “Every year, we depend on funding.”
Na Pu`uwai is a federally funded nonprofit organization administered under the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act. Their primary audience is native Hawaiian but they offer a variety of services and health programs that are available to the public.
Current services include cancer screenings, CPR certification, smoking cessation, routine testing in schools and other programs to promote active lifestyles, healthy eating and disease prevention. Na Pu`uwai also runs an adult daycare program at Home Pumehana and a fitness center located in the industrial park. The organization also serves Kalaupapa and Lanai, according to Akutagawa.
One area Akutagawa said the organization plans to expand in the future is “taking our programs to outlying communities.” To do this, they partner with other programs like Aku Like and Molokai Community Health Center, and often use county facilities in Maunaloa and Mana`e, said Akutagawa. There, staff host programs like fitness training and healthy eating workshops to reach out to community members who aren’t centrally located near Na Pu`uwai’s facilities.